LG has entered the Google Home smart speaker market. The LG WK7 ThinQ provides the most pleasant, easy listening, elegant sound of all Google Assistant speakers we have tested.
GadgetGuy is currently testing ten Google Assistant speakers. While all have Google intelligence in common, the delivery is very different.
If you want to read more about Google Assitant GadgetGuy has a review here.
What is an LG WK7 ThinQ?
It is LG’s tilt at the Google Home ecosystem. It is a 211mm high x 135mm x 1.9kg cylindrical, front firing 1.0 mono, speaker covered in a black acoustic metal mesh. Style-wise, it would not look out of place in most homes.
Two Class-D amps (total 30W) drives a mid/bass woofer and a separate tweeter. It has Wi-Fi AC Dual band and Bluetooth 4.2 using the SBC codec. There is no Aux-in.
The top has two mics, controls for volume and playback. There is a mute microphone button at the back of the cylinder. Four OK Google lights tell you if it’s listening or not.
A 19V/1.2A ‘brick’ provides power.
Oh, and it runs the new use the Android Things platform. This allows developers to make the most of the platform’s capabilities.
Via Google Home app on a smartphone – dead easy.
A separate LG Wi-Fi speaker app for iOS and Android adds some additional features. For example, you can access a DLNA server (for home music), integrate with a 2018 LG V or other LG Chromecast devices. It is also used for Bluetooth setup and can access music services outside Google Home.
How does it sound?
Remember this is a 1.0 mono, front-firing speaker. You buy it for Google Assistant and for listening to music sources (like radio) where mono is all you need.
We found it had the most elegant, bright, pleasant sound of any current Google Home speaker. At $299 it is the one I would choose if money were not an issue (compared to the Google Home at $199).
There are many reasons why the LG WK7 ThinQ sounds so good.
British company Meridian Audio does the tuning. According to LG, this adds ‘incredibly impactful and realistic sound’. We agree.
It has 24-bit/96kHz sound supporting FLAC (up to 96kHz), ALAC, WAV, OGG (Up to 48kHz), MP3, and ALAC. It may play 24-bit/192kHz content – we did not test for that.
Lower rate sound content can upscale from 22/32/44kHz/16-bit to 24-bit/96kHz. Interesting and perhaps overkill for a mono speaker. But it is what makes it sound so good.
The tuning has two pre-sets – enhanced bass and a clear voice. You can use them together, e.g. reinforce bass and mids or separately. Or you can turn them off for a mid-biased speaker. Frankly, I preferred both off as the equaliser does not make a massive difference to mono music.
Frequency response is claimed to be 50Hz to 18kHz. Our meter confirms this. The maximum volume is 80dB with minimal total harmonic distortion. While we test all speakers in an ‘open space’, this could benefit from being placed in the corner of a room or on a bookshelf.
EISA (European Imaging and Sound Association) named LG’s premium AI speaker, the LG XBOOM AI ThinQ (model WK7), as its EISA ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE LOUDSPEAKER 2018-2019 thanks to extraordinary sound quality combined with intelligence.
The technical collaboration with Meridian, the British pioneer of high resolution audio, enables LG XBOOM AI ThinQ’s full audio performance to be unleashed for high-fidelity sound, precise vocal definition and accurate bass. Its High Resolution Audio is compatible with high quality lossless files, allowing it to faithfully recreate sounds originally recorded in the studio.
With Google Assistant integrated directly into the device for quick setup, LG XBOOM AI ThinQ responds to a user’s commands without the need for a remote control or smartphone like “Hey Google, what’s my schedule today?” As a hub, the speaker can control Google Assistant-enabled smart home devices as well as LG home appliances compatible with LG ThinQ.
GadgetGuy’s take. Sweet music from the LG WK7 ThinQ
If you want Google Home functionality, this is the one to buy. It does everything the Google Home speaker does but adds a better sound quality, Bluetooth, and an app for use outside the Google Home environment.
You may have heard that the Google Home speaker lacks fidelity (and to be fair it does but is more than fit for purpose). The LG WK7 ThinQ does not. It is the one to buy for the best, easiest listening sound reproduction.
I think the LG WK7 ThinQ is the class-leading mono Google Home Speaker.
- Meridian tuning for good but not overpowering bass and mids
- A larger soundstage that others tested
- LG build quality
- Easily the best sound reproduction of any mono 1.0 Google Home speaker
- Party mode allows multiple speakers to link up
- Ideal in Google Home multi-room setups where you need more than the Google Home/mini can provide – better sound field
- None really – no deal breakers
- No AUX-in
- Not 360° sound
- No stereo pairing
As a Google Home 1.0 mono speaker
- Overall: 4.4 out of 5
- Features: 4 out of 5 – would have been nice to have 3.5mm AUX-in – not that many use this!
- Value for Money: 4.5 out of 5 – Good value for what it is
- Performance: 4.5 out of 5 – Almost perfect sound
- Ease of Use: 4.5 out of 5 – Plug and play. The app is a little fiddly
- Design: 4.5 out of 5 – Basic black cylinder but suits most décor
$299 from most major retailers. If you shop around you may even find it for $249! Bargain.